So to start, let me take you back to the early years and we’ll build from there.
My family moved to the “country” from the city (North York) when I was 11 where we made a country cottage our permanent home. Obviously that parental decision changed the course of my life at that age. We lived then on a 65 acre property which had about 12 acres of bush and the rest was farmed by the neighbor, dear friends, for whom my brothers and I worked every summer when we were old enough to drive tractors (in those days about 12 or 13 years old). We weren’t allowed to be paid ‘til we were 16! Still, nothing beat summer farm life for me.
We would have considered the hamlet of Epsom to be home base. It had and still does have a little public school along with the separate original one room school house. I can remember that for Grade 6 we actually used that old school house as our classroom which made for a neat school experience. Living near Epsom meant we were about halfway between the two towns of Uxbridge and Port Perry…for me it worked out that my schooling was in Port Perry while we went to Uxbridge for hockey and for church activities.
In those days a major rivalry in school and in sport existed between these towns but for me, it allowed me to meet circles of friends in both places. So, in school, this meant that I went to RH Cornish P.S. for grades 7 and 8 and then to Port Perry H.S. for my 5 years of high school. In church, our family attended the Baptist Church in Uxbridge. For hockey, I started in the old arena in Uxbridge and then spent many hours on the ice when they built the new community rinks that are used today.
Competitive sports has been my passion, and especially the team sports of hockey and basketball. On the basketball front, this started at RH Cornish which is a school that always seemed to have a passion for basketball. It carried into high school where one of my life influencers was an amazing teacher named Arend Dekker. Mr. Dekker’s passion for basketball, coaching, and investing into the lives of young people should be a model for other teachers.
That team was awesome and impacted me for life, teaching me about team ethics and competition at a high level. Playing on this team allowed me friendships with a neat mix of guys, and contacts that remain today.
In hockey, I was influenced by my parents’ belief that hockey should not be played on Sunday, so in those days that meant just house league hockey for me….still those were awesome times and I still love being in and around arenas.
Now about the word competitive… for those that do know me and played, or perhaps even refereed in one of my games, or played or still play against me, you will know that losing is not something that comes easily to me, and drives a style of play that may be described as “edgy” (at best). I’m over 50 now so I am mellowing and for sure slowing down but that doesn’t change everything.